An ambitious and engaging attempt to capture the elusive essence of a half-century of confrontation on the brink of the nuclear abyss. ``The cold war has been an extraordinary show to watch,'' Inglis (Education/Univ. of Warwick) says here, covering, conversationally and ingeniously, the full range of the spectacle- -from politics to science to art. Following a roughly chronological order, the author organizes his heavily anecdotal history into rotating sections of ``Biography,'' ``Events,'' and ``Fictions,'' beginning with a brief and dramatic ``biography'' of Frank Thompson, a quintessentially brave English intellectual killed as a result of Soviet indifference during the last days of WW II: ``The long fingers of the first moments of the cold war had reached out from Moscow and chilled Frank Thompson.'' Next come the ``events'' of ``The Casting of the Iron Curtain, 1945-47'' (Beria's reign of terror, George Kennan's design for American anti-Soviet policy, the birth of the atomic bomb), and then, several more ``events'' and a ``biography'' of Kennan later, Inglis's first ``fictions'': a lively meditation on ``righteousness'' and the movies and novels—The Magnificent Seven, Animal Farm, etc.—that ``taught that the American way of life, its fine independence and manly self-reliance, is the only meritorious way in a world of bad guys....'' Following this are ``events'' such as the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Poland's Solidarity, etc.; ``fictions'' dealing with ``loyalty and lying'' (spy films) and ``mistrust'' (All the President's Men, Gorky Park), etc.; and ``biographies'' of Freeman Dyson, Philip Agee, Joan Didion, etc. Finally, Inglis frames his patchwork tapestry in black, concluding that the ultimate engine for the cold war was ``prejudice, rigid fearfulness, ignorance, and superstition.'' A fresh and vigorous synthesis that humanizes the harsh march of history.

Pub Date: Nov. 25, 1991

ISBN: 0-465-01494-1

Page Count: 475

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1991

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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